Battle in high gear in bellwether seats

Battle in high gear in bellwether seats
In a rousing speech at the Labor Party's campaign rally in Brisbane on Sunday, Mr Rudd promised tax breaks for small businesses in a bid to revive his party's election fortunes.

AUSTRALIA - As he waits for a lunch-time curry at a popular Indian eatery in Sydney's west, local resident Wayne Krzmenski rolls his eyes at the choices on offer in the upcoming Australian election.

"I don't like either of them," he said, referring to the two main candidates, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and opposition leader Tony Abbott.

Mr Krzmenski, 36, a retail business manager and father of two, plans to vote for Mr Abbott's conservative Liberal-National coalition.

Though he prefers Mr Rudd as prime minister, he said he had not been happy with Labor's six years in power and believed Mr Abbott was better for businesses.

"I don't trust Tony Abbott..." he told The Straits Times. "I don't think he speaks for the people. I don't think he respects women.

But I don't believe in Labor." Speaking in one of the nation's most marginal electorates, the seat of Greenway, Mr Krzmenski's response represents the growing mood in a region that is likely to determine the outcome of the election on Saturday.

The sprawling suburbs in western Sydney contain about 10 per cent of Australia's 22 million population, but they cover a dozen of the most tightly fought seats in Australia's 150-seat Parliament.

The area was once staunchly working-class and known as a Labor heartland, but it has been growing more affluent and support has been drifting towards the Liberal Party.

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